Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Zumer bay nakht af a stoop (Summer night on a stoop) Yiddish ragtime of 1903

Summer at night on a stoop
By Isidor Lillien
To sing with the melody from
"All of the While."

Previously I've posted "Summer night at the ice cream parlor," "Summer night on the roof," and coming up eventually is "Summer night on the fire escape." These are all places New Yorkers went to escape the heat.

In addition, the stoop was a communal visiting spot. FYI I didn't know until today that the original reason for setting the first floor up a few steps was to get the door away from the horse poop.

My aunt, who was a New Yorker, used to speak approvingly of "stoop babies," that is, infants who were used to being passed from person to person out on the stoop and didn't fuss about it.

I am so grateful to Glenn Mehrbach for once again playing a fantastic ragtime keyboard track which he emailed to me without us ever having tried the song together. Here it is, with the vocal I added this morning:

Transliteration of the Yiddish and translation after the jump.

Zumer bay nakht af a stoop

Fil yunge layt, in zumer tsayt,
Zukhn zikh a fargenigungs plats
Ven di hits iz shtark, geyt men in park
Oder nokh kuni ayland mit der shatz
Nor ikh halt nit fun oysforn in zumer tsayt
Ikh lib oykh nit in park shpatsirn
Ikh lib nor zitsn mit mayn meydl bay mayn zayt
Vayl ikh ken zikh nor amuzirn

Bay nakht afn stoop
Ven in gas iz shoyn gants tinkl
Gey ikh mit mayn maydl arup
Zets zikh mit ir in a vinkl
Ikh kush, ikh haldz zi, un ikh drik zi fest tsu mir
Ikh drik un zi shrayt, loz mikh up
Oy gevalt es iz a prakht
Tsu zitsn zumer bay nakht af a stoop

Ikh gey keyn mol in densing skul
Af keyn pik-niks for ikh oykh nit
Keyn maskn bal, nothing et ol
In Bronzeville bin ikh oykh nokh nit geven
Ven ikh kum aheym fun der arbet farshmakht
Damols ven di zun geyt unter
Zits ikh un vart es zol shoyn vern nakht
Bay dem fenster un kuk arunter

Summer at night on a stoop

Lots of young people, in the summer, are looking for a fun place to go.
When the heat is strong you go to the park or to Coney Island with your sweetheart.
But I don't believe in traveling in the summer
I also don't like walking in the park
I just like to sit with my girl by my side
Because I can amuse myself... night on the stoop when it's all dark in the street
I go down with my girl and sit with her in a corner
I kiss and hug her and hold her close to me
I squeeze her and she shouts let me go!
Oy, it's lovely to sit on a stoop on a summer night.

I never go to a dancing school, I never go on picnics
No masquerade balls, nothing at all!
I also haven't been to Bronzeville yet.
When I come home from work exhausted,
when the sun sets
I sit and wait by the window until night and look down...

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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